Wilson Electronics Aims to Boost Spotty 4G

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Harry McCracken /

Yep, that’s a phone sitting in a cradle inside a wire-mesh box in the photo above. The box is a Faraday Cage and the phone is inside it because both are part of a demo at Wilson Electronics’ booth at the CTIA Wireless show in New Orleans last week. Wilson makes equipment for boosting the strength of cellular signals, and it was showing off its Sleek 4G cradles for improving the signal strength of AT&T and Verizon Wireless LTE wireless broadband.

The 4G Sleeks will be available in two models: the Sleek 4G-A (AT&T) and Sleek 4G-V (Verizon), both of which also support 2G and 3G networks. Each one will go for $129.95 and will include a user-installable universal car cradle and external antenna; an adapter for in-home use will also be available.

The idea is that the Sleeks will reduce dropped calls and improve data speeds by filling in weak spots and dead zones in your carrier’s coverage. Wilson used the Faraday Cage to create an artificial dead zone at CTIA, then showed a phone mounted in a Sleek getting a strong 4G signal nonetheless.

I don’t own an LTE phone yet, but if I got my hands on a Sleek, I’d test it by immediately driving to a spot in San Francisco where my iPhone 4s drops its AT&T 3G signal, every single time. It’s the offramp from highway 280 onto King St. — a veritable Bermuda Triangle of AT&T non-coverage that is, oddly enough, just a few hundred yards from AT&T Park, home of the Giants. If the Sleek can eliminate that coverage gap, I’m sold on its benefits.

Wilson plans to ship the Verizon version of the Sleek 4G in the next few weeks, with the AT&T model following later this summer.